I paid 60 soles (US$20) for the full-day tour which included hotel pick up, drop off, transport, a buffet lunch, and an English speaking guide. I also bought the Cusco Tourist ticket which covered the entrance fees to the Inca ruins on my Cusco City Tour and the Sacred Valley Tour so I was all set for my day trip.
Washington, my tour guide, came with a shuttle van to pick me up from my hotel around 8:30 AM. We went to a bus station to transfer to a bigger bus. There were about 15 travellers on the bus with plenty of room to stretch. Our tour would make the following stops:
- A small handicraft market in the village of Ccorao
- Pisac Inca archaeological site and local market
- Buffet lunch at a restaurant in Urubamba
- Ollantaytambo Inca archaeological site
- Chinchero village and a weaving co-op
- A small alpaca shop on our way back to Cusco
First stop was at a small handicraft market in the village of Ccorao for about 20 minutes. I did some quick browsing but didn’t buy anything. Here’s a sample of what’s on sale:
|Souvenirs in Ccorao shop|
|Mountain road to Pisac|
|Terraces at Pisac|
|Pisac Incan ruins|
|View of the Valley|
|Pisac Incan ruins|
|Stone wall in Pisac|
After leaving the Pisac ruins, our tour bus took us to the Pisac market and let everyone out to explore for about 30 minutes. I spotted these two young Peruvian girls and their lambs, and a colourful mototaxi passing by.
|Local girls with little lambs|
Fourth stop: Ollantaytambo. Our bus stopped in the town centre and let us off. Ollantaytambo town is one of the most common starting points for the multi-day hike known as the Inca Trail. There is also frequent train service from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu.
Washington took our group on a short walk through town to Ollantaytambo archaeological site. It’s at an altitude of 2,792 m (9160 ft) above sea level. Entrance to the site is included in the Cusco Tourist ticket. We climbed up the stone stairway to reach the top of the terrace complex. Washington was way ahead of us with his flag. He told me he does this tour three times a week!
Ollantaytambo site dates from the late 15th century. The Incas did farming on the agricultural terraces and took advantage of the different ecological zones from the variations in altitude.
|Ollantaytambo archaeological site|
|View of Ollantaytambo town|
|Steep terraces at Ollantaytambo|
|Ollantaytambo Inca ruins|
|Chinchero stone walls|
|Llamas on terraces in Chinchero|
|Local Chinchero weavers|
|Natural materials for dyes|
I found this Sacred Valley Tour very good value for the money, and would recommend it to anyone who wants to visit Pisac, Ollantatambay and Chinchero. The tour is a circuit of around 200 km so having a local guide to take care of the driving, and another guide to accompany you to the sites was well worth the cost of the tour.
It was a wonderful day in the Sacred Valley of the Incas!
Next post: Train to Machu Picchu.